EMPATH: THE LUCKIEST SMURF
"Reporter's Inside Stories: An Interview With Empath Smurf"
Story by Vic George
Based on the Smurf concept of characters by Peyo
Reporter: We're here today to smurf with the Smurf most commonly smurfed "the luckiest Smurf who's ever smurfed in this lifetime." In case you don't know who we're smurfing about, which would probably be anyone who doesn't smurf in the village, this smurf happens to be Empath. Ever since his first visit to the Smurf Village at age 70, he has been the object of fasmurfation by most of the other Smurfs. His many telepathic and telekinetic abilities, his various talents, his unsmurfable calm poise, his outlook on everything that is about being a Smurf...they're the makings of a Smurf that most of us would envy and admire, with the possible exception being Papa Smurf. First of all, I'd like to thank Empath for smurfing me the chance to do this interview.
Empath: This smurf is very much honored to be featured, Reporter.
Reporter: First of all, why do you always keep calling yourself "this smurf", Empath? I mean, frankly it's a bit odd to keep smurfing you referring to yourself in the third person.
Empath: Originally, this smurf used to refer to myself as "this one." It's a habit this smurf had acquired from being in Psychelia since this smurf's day of emergence -- when a Psyche emerges from their gestation chambers to begin their training. Psyches are trained never to see themselves as individuals, only as part of a collective whole. Of course, this smurf never originally saw himself as a Smurf until Papa Smurf brought this smurf to the Smurf Village 80 years ago. It was when this smurf first wore Smurf clothes and saw his reflection in the mirror that this smurf saw himself as a Smurf and not a Psyche.
Reporter: Back when you first met us that long ago, what was your first impression of us?
Empath: This smurf's first impression came when this smurf met Papa Smurf in Psychelia on that day. This smurf had no idea this smurf was even related in any form to this Papa Smurf. Admittedly, this smurf was a bit rude when confronting Papa Smurf for the first time in what to him seemed like years, referring to him as a "half-naked, misshapen, bald, bearded savage of a being" and examining him as if he were nothing more than a wild animal. Of course, this smurf learned that first impressions aren't always what they appear to be, as Papa Smurf showed this smurf by bringing this smurf to the Smurf Village for the first time. But overcoming one's fear of being anything
like what you're raised to despise isn't easy.
Reporter: Why did you seem so afraid of being like one of us back then, Empath?
Empath: This smurf was raised as a Psyche, which meant that we were supposed to be above the need for such pleasures that Smurfs take for granted. This smurf thought that such pleasures were simply perverse. Just the sight of exposed naked flesh is enough to make even the Psyche Master feel disgusted, making any Psyche think the worst of those kind of beings. This smurf can thank his ancestors for Papa Smurf to prove otherwise, that enjoying yourself doesn't have to be a bad thing.
He also helped overcome this smurf's fear of even touching another Smurf in
a harmless manner, including Papa Smurf himself, though it came at a time
when Papa Smurf took this smurf on a hike with just him and this smurf
alone, and this smurf feared he was going to do something
rather...uncomfortable to this smurf. Then Papa Smurf had an accident
along the way that would have left him for dead if it weren't for this smurf
discovering this "mindlink" ability that allowed this smurf to tap into the
mental energies of this smurf's fellow Smurfs to increase this smurf's own
abilities, and this discovery was what helped save Papa Smurf. Later
on, though, Papa Smurf admitted that he never had any intention to harm this
smurf in any way, that he just simply wanted to spend some "alone time" with
Reporter: You used to be so comfortable wearing just a hat and pants, and now smurf at you...you're wearing a shirt! What's with the change now?
Empath: Papa Smurf again. If this smurf didn't think he was going to tell this smurf about how this smurf wound up in Psychelia, this smurf would simply have continued to be just as he was before. But this smurf had a bad dream about both him and this smurf being in Psychelia when this smurf was an infant, and it was so terrifying this smurf had to go to Papa Smurf to find out what it was actually. In a way, this smurf is relieved that the truth had come out. But this smurf lost part of my Smurfness that night as well.
It's not that this smurf wouldn't want to go back to the simpler "hat and
pants" days, mind you, because this smurf still believes that it's more a
matter of function than it is a personal parade of one's physical
appearance, from what this smurf has learned about wearing Smurf clothing
during this smurf's visits.
Reporter: Nevertheless, finding out that you were the actual son of Papa Smurf wasn't an easy thing
for you to deal with.
Empath: (sighs heavily) You are correct, Reporter, in that it wasn't. It made this smurf feel so singled out from every other Smurf in the village. Like he cared more for 97 other Smurfs that weren't his own than he did for the one Smurf that was. Unfortunately, it erupted into a kind of rage that this smurf isn't proud of telling anybody about.
Reporter: Did you ever forgive Papa Smurf for what he had smurfed with you?
Empath: Eventually, this smurf did when this smurf realized how much Papa Smurf really did care for this smurf, even while this smurf was away in Psychelia. What he did to this smurf back then was foolish, and that it hurt him as well, but then if it never happened, it wouldn't have made him into the kind of father figure and village leader he is now. Wisdom doesn't come without making mistakes along the way, as Papa Smurf could tell you. Besides, there's only so much time that you could hold a grudge against someone you admired for a good part of your life. The freedom of forgiveness comes when you learn to let go of the past.
Reporter: How did you feel smurfing out that Brainy, of all the Smurfs in the village, is your long-lost half-brother?
Empath: A bit relieved, a bit guilty perhaps. This smurf originally thought that Brainy would most likely be the actual son of Papa Smurf, not this smurf. Strangely, we don't even share the same father, and yet this smurf could feel such a bond among the three of us, like we were really family.
Reporter: Does this separate you from all the other Smurfs in the village?
Empath: This smurf would like to think that it doesn't. Since this smurf actively remembers everything only since this smurf's day of emergence 102 years ago, this smurf feels more connected to every Smurf in the village. So in that sense, the community already feels like family to this smurf.
Reporter: But in some way, with your third eye powers, your upsmurfing in Psychelia...you do feel a bit separated from the common Smurf. I mean, what Smurf can actually hold a candle to you?
Empath: This smurf wasn't given these abilities by choice. This smurf was born with them, and this smurf had to be raised where this smurf could learn how to use those abilities safely. This smurf only stands above most normal Smurfs in that this smurf must handle things that no Smurf alone could -- things that could affect the entire village on a grand scale. Having to outrace those speed demons in particular is one example. Papa Smurf once told this smurf that with great power comes greater responsibility, so this smurf must accept the responsibility of using these abilities for the benefit of smurfkind.
Reporter: But aren't you afraid that most Smurfs would want to imitate you, even to the point where it might be dangerous?
Empath: This smurf does fear that possibility, though this smurf is also aware that most Smurfs do so only because they want to be recognized as somebody important in the village, not just some nameless and faceless Smurf in the crowd. In the name of doing something selfless, like rescuing somebody from danger, then this smurf would say that the risk of imitation would be worth it because it affects more than just one person. It makes others recognize the true hero in every one of us, that everyone can be a hero.
Reporter: What about the Smurflings? Obviously, they smurf you as a role model.
Empath: This smurf is being very careful of what this smurf does in the public eye, even around the Smurflings. Since this smurf also does occasional tutoring for them, this smurf does try to set them straight about what's expected of them, encouraging them to be more than they think they can be but making them recognize the inherent risks and dangers that exist in the world. This smurf would like to see them grow to be better adult Smurfs than most of us around here.
Reporter: Now you've been placed in a position alongside Papa Smurf as his assistant counselor, which like Brainy puts you second in command of leading the village. Is that correct?
Empath: Assisting in resolving other Smurf's problems is this smurf's prime responsibility. Leading the village is a secondary responsibility, and one that this smurf undertakes only when Papa Smurf is in no condition to do so himself. Brainy is actually third in command only because he is still learning how to become a sorcerer in addition to controlling his impulsive need to use his skills in less than desirable ways.
Reporter: Does Brainy smurf any problem with you being in this position?
Empath: Brainy has had difficulty applying his intelligence through a proper channel, which has always led to his being constantly unpopular with every Smurf -- and from what this smurf keeps hearing, constantly booted out of the village. He never really sees this smurf as trying to undermine him in any way, since he sees in me a kindred spirit when it comes to understanding complex philosophies and ideas. But this smurf doesn't try stealing any Smurf's thunder, including Brainy's.
Reporter: Now, Empath, do you see yourself as being the future leader of the village when Papa Smurf is no longer able to?
Empath: This smurf doesn't wish to become that anytime soon, let alone in the future. Though this smurf would not turn down the responsibility of becoming the village leader if the time comes for this smurf to accept the role. It's just that this smurf would never be half the leader that Papa Smurf is, to be truly honest.
Reporter: Okay, let's move on to another Smurf who's now a part of your life -- Smurfette. It seems that ever since you smurfed home for good, you and Smurfette are just constantly seen together a lot. Most Smurfs think that you and Smurfette are falling in love with each other. Is this true?
Empath: This smurf loves Smurfette. This smurf doesn't know why exactly, since she is the first female Smurf this smurf has ever seen in the village -- to be more precise, the first female adult Smurf! There's just something about Smurfette that this smurf finds captivating, besides how beautiful she looked. She's friendly, she's open, she likes to carry on a conversation, she's just more than this smurf ever expected a female Smurf to be.
Reporter: You don't sound like you're in love with her.
Empath: This smurf is too afraid to feel anything stronger for her yet, Reporter. This smurf isn't just afraid for himself, this smurf is also afraid for Smurfette. This smurf doesn't want to do anything to hurt her. It doesn't mean that this smurf doesn't love her yet or at all, it just means that this smurf is waiting for the right time to feel comfortable being in love with her.
Reporter: Do you think Smurfette would give her heart to you completely?
Empath: This smurf can only hope so, but this smurf will not push her to do anything she is not ready to do. This smurf can wait as long as Smurfette can.
Reporter: Right now it smurfs that every Smurf is jealous of you because of what they smurf between you and Smurfette.
Empath: It is not this smurf's intention to make any Smurf feel jealous or anything. Besides, what they see between this smurf and Smurfette is not the whole picture altogether, anyway. We're both just getting to know each other better before we even try to be more than just being friends with each other.
Though on occasion, Smurfette does love to tease this smurf about this
smurf's physical appearance, as if this smurf were just some object for her
to gaze upon. This smurf tries not to make a big deal about it, but
frankly, this smurf isn't out to impress Smurfette with the way this smurf
Reporter: Well, I heard that you helped Smurfette produce an album that's smurfing out soon called Ray Of Sunshine. Care to smurf any comments on that?
Empath: That is entirely Smurfette's idea. Since the last Smurfstock festival, where she sang that beautiful song about being frozen, this smurf merely suggested that she should make a collection of songs for every Smurf to listen to. From that point, Smurfette took it upon herself to create that collection, getting some really good musicians from the village together, this smurf included, to help with the music. This smurf didn't know how talented Smurfette was with creating music. Even Harmony was so jealous of her ability. Most Smurfs wouldn't know what the real Smurfette is like until they hear this album.
Reporter: On the album's back cover, it says "Produced by Smurfette and Empath." That's the first time that you smurfed second billing to anyone. Are you comfortable with that?
Empath: Ever since this smurf destroyed that statue Papa Smurf had made of this smurf that every Smurf ended up using as a form of twisted idol worship, this smurf can feel a bit more comfortable about not being as well recognized as, say, Papa Smurf. This smurf never came to this village to be at the top of anything, it just happened to be that way, and this smurf doesn't like being put on a pedestal anymore than being pushed down a cliff. Being somewhere in the middle is where this smurf would rather be. As for the album, this is Smurfette's project, so she deserves most of the credit.
Reporter: Finally, about your friend Polaris Psyche. For the past year, this friend of yours from Psychelia has been trying to smurf a home for himself here in the village. He seems to smurf a bit more about you than either of you would let on, and the two of you are also constantly seen together. What's smurfing on with that?
Empath: If you're assuming that this smurf's friendship with Polaris is anything like what Vanity's searching for, this smurf would like to set the story straight. This smurf and Polaris are friends, and nothing else. This smurf has known him since we have been in Psychelia together. Polaris is too much of a Psyche to engage in anything "lasmurfious", even with this smurf. But he is very much fascinated by what Smurfs do in their daily lives. That was how he and this smurf became friends in the first place, though in a place like Psychelia, friendship isn't something that the Psyche Master approves of.
Reporter: But you and Polaris share the same house together.
Empath: He and this smurf are very comfortable with each other living together like that. More to the point, we recognize our need for personal space and privacy. Polaris isn't as squeamish as he used to be about seeing this smurf as before this smurf's "shirt days". In fact, Polaris even tried being like a Smurf for a day and didn't find anything to complain about. But all that goes on between us is just sharing space and recognizing each other's need for space.
Reporter: Remembering that day with Polaris smurfing shirtless reminded me of Gargamel when he was magically shrunk to Smurf-size, and Tailor made him a Smurf suit when he had to smurf good deeds in order to regain his normal size.
Empath: This smurf remembers hearing about that incident. This smurf can only wonder why Papa Smurf had Tailor make Gargamel a Smurf suit since the clothes he wore also changed size along with Gargamel and the Smurf suit didn't. Of course, this smurf is saving that kind of analyzing for future reference.
Reporter: Well, you have been responsible for bringing the Smurfs together to smurf Gargamel out of the forest, whom we haven't smurfed in the past two years. Yet there are others like Hogatha, Chlorhydris, and Lord Balthazar who are still active in smurfing to our final end. How do you deal with these and anything else that smurfs our way?
Empath: Overall, there's only so much this smurf can do to make the forest safe for all smurfkind, and even Papa Smurf is limited in what he can do. It is basically not our place to decide who should live in this forest and who should go. It would take a threat even more dangerous than the likes of Gargamel for us as Smurfs to make that kind of decision -- and this smurf has seen those kind of dangers, like Oblivion who once smurfed all of Smurf history into four different realistic interpretations in order to destroy us, for some reason this smurf can't even fathom. It's not a decision to make lightly.
Reporter: So what would you do even if -- nature forbid -- Gargamel should ever smurf his way back into the forest to smurf more trouble with us than he had smurfed before you smurfed back home, and you can't smurf him away like you did? Would you even smurf as far as to respect Gargamel's decision to smurf here for good?
Empath: The forest is home to everybody, even the likes of Gargamel, Azrael, and Scruple, but that doesn't mean that this smurf would be less vigilant than ever to make sure this forest gets protected from whatever damage they can do, nor would this smurf be less vigilant to protect this smurf's fellow Smurfs from being captured by them. This smurf sometimes thinks of himself as being a neighborhood watch Smurf. Vigilance is the price we must pay to allow beings to live their own lives, which is what Papa Smurf would say about dealing with Gargamel.
Reporter: Well, as long as we don't smurf him in our village anytime soon.
Just one more thing before we close -- and though it may be a silly thing to
smurf you, I still feel the need to smurf it -- why are you the only Smurf
that still doesn't speak in Smurf?
Empath: Mainly because this smurf finds the language
rather confusing to speak it, though this smurf can somehow understand it.
I mean, this smurf has tried on some occasions to learn how to speak in
Smurf, but every time this smurf tries to say something in Smurf, it always
comes out wrong and misinterpreted, and that really irritates this smurf to
no end. This smurf has heard that the human named Peewit had come
across this difficulty when he tried to speak in Smurf himself, with some
rather amusing results. Strangely, though, this smurf has found out
that on some occasions, whenever this smurf's emotions reach a certain peak,
this smurf can speak Smurf rather fluently -- but then this smurf regrets
some of the things that come out of this smurf's mouth whenever this smurf
has these peak moments, like obscenities whenever this smurf gets really
angry. For the most part, though, this smurf prefers to speak in what
would be called the Psychelian language, since it gives this smurf the most
clarity as far as vocalizing this smurf's thoughts. This smurf doesn't
feel that it makes me any less of a Smurf to speak that way.
Reporter: I don't think the village smurfs any
complaints about you smurfing the way you smurf, Empath. And that I
think should smurf up our interview.
Empath: No problem, Reporter. Just try to be careful about getting your news -- you may find yourself getting way in over your head just for an interesting story. And also try to report facts, not rumors or lies. No Smurf would like hearing about something only to be entirely misled by misinformation.
Reporter: I don't know about the "being careful" part, since smurfing a good story doesn't come without risk, but I will stick to smurfing the truth. Thanks again for the interview, Empath.
Empath: This smurf appreciates the honor, Reporter.
NOTE: Empath would probably be voiced by Michael
Bell, using the voice of Zan of the Wonder Twins from Super Friends.